China continues to crack down on corruption

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Former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai stands trial at the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong province on Monday. [Xie Huanchi / Xinhua]

Former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai stands trial at the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court in Shandong province on Monday. [Xie Huanchi / Xinhua]

Bo Xilai, former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Sept. 22 2013 for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power. The severity of the punishment and the steps taken to public some of the proceedings of the trial online demonstrate the commitment of China's new leadership to fight against deep rooted corruption in China.

The downfall of corrupt officials

Since the Party's 18th National Congress reshuffled China's top leadership last November, the Party has vowed to crack down on corruption, targeting both "tigers" and "flies" – powerful leaders and low-level corrupt officials.

Nine senior officials have been put into probe for severe disciplinary violations after November 2012, while the investigations into Bo Xilai and Liu Zhijun, the former railway minister, started before Nov. 2012.

The senior officials who have been dealt with include Jiang Jiemin, former head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC); Liu Tienan, former deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC); Li Chuncheng, former vice secretary of the CPC Committee of Sichuan Province; Guo Yongxiang, former vice governor of Sichuan Province; Wang Suyi, former head of the United Front Work Department under the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region's CPC Committee; Zhou Zhenhong, former member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the provincial committee; Ni Fake, former vice governor of Anhui Province; Li Daqiu, former Chairman of the Guangxi Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Wang Yongchun, former vice general manager of China National Petroleum Corp.

The corruption campaign has been just as relentless in dealing with officials at the local level. It has brought to justice Lei Zhengfu, a former Chongqing official who was caught up in a sex video scandal, four Shanghai judges who were spotted with prostitutes, and "Uncle House" Cai Bin, a former Guangzhou official who misused his power to acquire a total of 22 houses.

Experts have commented that the campaign is the most ruthless strike on corruption in China in 30 years.

Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that the fall of these high level corrupt officials shows that China has sped up its anti-graft efforts, following the 18th CPC National Congress.

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